Patty Mills ensured San Antonio's hot start to the 2019-20 season continued, pouring in 31 points in just 22 minutes off the bench in the Spurs 127-110 win over the Golden State Warriors.
The Spurs are now 4-1 on the season, while the Warriors slip to 1-4.
FIBA Patty Mills takes over
Patty Mills has been an offensive spark plug off the bench for Gregg Popovich since joining the franchise for the 2011-12 season, although on this night, he looked more like the Mills we are used to seeing in the green and gold of Australia.
Mills' 31 points was his highest-scoring game since he scored 32 points against Charlotte on February 8, 2014, and fell just three points shy of his career-high of 34 against the Warriors way back on April 26, 2012.
Mills did the majority of his damage by shooting a scorching hot 6-for-9 from beyond the three-point line, though he also worked his way into the paint for a pair of baskets in the restricted area and capitalised at the charity stripe with a 5-for-5 mark.
Per Basketball-Reference Mills is just the nineteenth player in NBA history to score 30+ points in 23 minutes or less off the bench.
That's some kind of night.
Life without Steph is going to be as tough as we expected
It's not like things were exactly going to plan with the two-time MVP, but the first full game without Steph Curry went exactly as you might have suspected.
D'Angelo Russell tallied 30 points and dished out eight assists in his new lead role in the offence, but the reality is, he might need to bump that up to 40 if Steve Kerr's squad are to stay competitive in the Western Conference.
step-back J for JP- Golden State Warriors (@warriors) November 2, 2019
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Rookie, Jordan Poole started in Curry's place and scored 20 points on an efficient 13 shots, but the production stopped there.
Many have pondered whether Draymond Green could carry a heavier offensive load when not surrounded by Hall of Fame talent and the first game returns were just six points on seven shots.
It's far from the start Warriors fans would have hoped for in the first season across the bridge in San Francisco, but it might be a good time to reset and reload for another launch at the playoffs in 2021.
The Spurs are once again a playoff threat
I mean, of course, they are right?
The Spurs have not missed the NBA postseason since 1997 and yet, year-by-year, there are people daring to suggest it might be their time to start a vacation in mid-April.
With LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan at the forefront, Greg Popovich has once again assembled a sneakily deep roster, that is capable of giving the best in the West a battle on any given night.
We've already touched on the firepower of Mills, but joining the Australian in the second unit are Rudy Gay, Marco Belinelli, DeMarre Carroll and Jakob Poeltl, giving the Spurs a five-strong group capable of putting up points on any given night.
Derrick White and Bryn Forbes give the Spurs a pair of tenacious young guards on the defensive end, and this is before we even bring up Dejounte Murray, who was rested on the second night of a back-to-back.
Yep, water is wet and the Spurs are still good at basketball.